There are a lot of kinds of mole rats and naked mole rat is one of the best known. Naked mole rat or also known as the sand puppy or dessert mole rat is hairless, tubular and has wrinkled body which makes it appear a bit like a tiny walrus or even bratwurst with teeth. Heterocephalus glaber is its scientific name. If you see the pictures of naked mole rats, they look small. Individuals are 8 to 10 cm long and weigh 30 to 35 grams but the queens are bigger and may weigh more than 50 grams.
These rats have small eyes, and their visual ability is poor. Besides, their legs are thin and short. Nevertheless, they are skillful in moving underground and can move backward as fast as they can move forward. Their big teeth which are protruding are used to dig and their lips are sealed behind the teeth to prevent soil from entering their mouths while they are digging. Then, where do naked mole rats live? They live in communities like those of many insects. Some dozens of rats even live together in colonies that are led by one dominant rat that is the queen. Same as in insect species, the queen of naked mole rat is only naked mole rat female to breed and bear young. Naked mole rats come from the drier areas of the tropical grasslands of East Africa and primarily southern Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
Worker animals dig the burrows which the whole clan inhabits by using their prominent teeth and snouts. They collect the roots and bulbs to eat as well. The other rats tend to the queen. The other types of mole rats live on their own or in small families. Even though they spend most of their time to dig and look for food in their burrows, but sometimes they emerge to look for seeds of the other plants. Naked mole rats can adapt for the limited availability of oxygen in the tunnels of its typical habitat. Their lungs are very small and their blood has a very strong affinity for oxygen increasing the efficiency of oxygen uptake. They can survive for at least 5 hours in air which contains only 5% oxygen. If you are curious about naked mole rats, you can search naked mole rat images in the internet.
Naked mole rats feed mainly on very big tubers that they discover deep underground through their mining operations. A single tuber can supply a colony with a long term source of food that last for months or years as they eat the inside but leave the outside allowing the tuber to regenerate. Symbiotic bacteria that live in their intestines will ferment the fibres and permit otherwise indigestible cellulose to be changed into volatile fatty acids. Sometimes, naked mole rats also consume their own feces. This behaviour perhaps is a part of their eusocial behaviour and a means of sharing hormones from the queen. Naked mole rats are preyed by snakes particularly the Rofous beaked snake and Kenyan sand boa and also any kinds of raptors.